子供の時 VS. 子供の頃

Hey friends,

So in my Japanese class, we’re using the phrases 子供の時 (こどものとき or when as a child) and 高校の時 (こうこうのとき or when in high school) to talk about doing something in the past either when we were kids or when we were in high school.

However, i’ve heard it prior to this class as 子供の頃 (こどものころ) and although I’m going to complete the homework using the phrase we learned in class, how much more often is 子供の頃 used over 子供の時?

Is 私は子供の頃 the more natural way to say the phrase “when I was a child”?

And if there is any (aside from the final kanji), what’s the difference between 子供の時 and 子供の頃?

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This might help:

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That time when I was a child

Around the time when I was a child

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Thank you! This definitely helps, though I think I need to read a few more sentences with 子供の頃 to see how it’s used when referring to actions/situations that were continuous in the past. Perhaps it’s also used when you’re trying to recall some vague time period in the past as opposed to specific instances?

“The time as a child” versus “Around the time as a child” is kind of how i’m differentiating it, and I like how it can be interchangeable… but maybe I just need to hear/read it some more for me to see if there is more nuance.

I’d like to be able to say something like,

When I was a child I was always waiting for my parents to pick me up from school.

or

When I was a child I often waited many hours for my parents to pick me up from school.

And I wonder what would be more natural in that kind of sentence.

One of my homework sentences was to translate this:

When (he) was a child, the teacher sometimes studied Japanese at the library.

My response: 先生は子供の時、図書館で時々日本語を勉強しました。

I’m thinking maybe 子供の頃 can be used to describe a time that’s not clear, like an in-between phase in childhood, like child to preteen or toddler to child. But I have no idea, maybe someone can offer a few sentences to distinguish the two.

I get that, but whats the actual difference in speech when saying it? Is someone more likely to use one over the other, and in what kind of context?

Exactly how’d you think you’d use it in english. “Around about the time when I was a child” as opposed to more specifically “When I was a child”.

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Thanks :slight_smile: I just don’t hear that phrasing at all in English, "around about the time when I was a child,” so I can’t think of how I’d use it in English. Gonna try though and hopefully this makes sense:

I think of 頃 for “ish” like when we say 3ish for time, so in giving the same vagueish quality to the time period when I was a child I think is where my comprehension is breaking, but I think I got an example.

Let’s try this:

Around the time I was a child, there were no cellphones.
私は子供の頃、携帯電話がありませんでした。

Perhaps this is an older person, whose memory is not so great anymore. They can’t really remember the time period but know it was about when they were a child.

Another example perhaps for 子供の時

When I was a child, anime was new.
私は子供の時、新しかったアニメがありました。

I clearly remember when anime was new as a child. So I can say with certainty it was when I was a child.

edit: actually, I need someone to help me edit this sentence cause I keep reading it as

When I was a child I had a new anime versus When I was a child anime was new, probably cause my subject is I and not anime.


I just don’t see why someone would say about the time vs. when, unless they are uncertain about when the action or situation took place in some way.

But i’ll take it. Gonna email my sensei too with my explanation and see what he says.

My roommate opened up a completely different can of worms that helped.

He said that’s the way we’d answer in English when you’re asked questions like,

Since when were you afraid of spiders?
Since when have you felt that way?
Since when have you _____?

And that to me makes sense to answer with “Around the time I was a child”

Just as a note, your subject is not “I” because 私は is not denoting subject but rather topic. Actually using が to talk about anime after that makes anime your subject :wink:

I’d probably say something like:

私は子どもの時、アニメは新しい物でした。

I wouldn’t use が for either 私 or アニメ。

I’m also wondering though, do you mean anime was new for you because you hadn’t seen it before? Or do you mean it was new for everyone, like it was just then being produced? Anime-style TV shows have existed for half a century, and anime-style commercials have existed for over a century… not sure how old you are though :wink:

I thought 頃 was used for longer period of time which are fuzzy, so almost always used for things like ‘childhood’ or ‘youth’, but it’s not that clear cut either. In the BCCWJ, there is 414 hits for 子供の時 (and variant 子供のとき, 子供の時 etc) and 1822 hits for 子供の頃.

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